Destination: Trivandrum one day, Kovalam one day
Number of days spent: 2
Where we stayed: Trivandrum – Greenland lodge (495RP/$11; just behind the bus station) – mark this down as one of the weirdest places we stayed. Your payment was for 24 hours – so checking in at 8pm allowed you to stay in the room until 8pm the following night. They required two nights deposit – unheard of anywhere in the world. But the best part was the list of ‘rules’. “Don’t wash your clothes in the room” followed by, “Hotel will not be responsible for clothes damaged by hanging wet clothes on curtains.” “Power Outlets are for charging mobile phones only”…umm sure. Kovalam – Jeevan Ayurvedic Beach Resort (1200RP/$26). We wanted a little “affordable” luxury for our last night in India so we moved to the beach and checked into a hotel with a pool. Of course the clouds rolled in the moment we got checked in, but we still hopped in the pool anyways.
Best Restaurant: The branch of the Indian Coffee House by the bus/train station is set in a tower. The food is ehh, but the seating is set on a spiraling ramp that continues around and round for four floors.
Best of: Great sunset photos, our last days in India (by this point we were ready to get out of the heat, dirt, and craziness)
Worst of: Looking back on my notes I wrote “Another crap day in India where nothing went right”
Most memorable: We both wanted to leave India so bad by this point that our celebratory last night beer went down nice and smooth (shhhh, don’t tell anyone we had a beer). But absence makes the heart grow fonder and we have since had a change of heart about India – we have learned to love to hate it so much that we want more of it.
Useful Tip: Don’t bother staying in Trivandrum. Even if you have an early morning flight (we did) you can still get there no problem from Kovalam and the atmosphere is much nicer (but Patnem in Goa is way nicer still).
After getting off our relaxing boat cruise, nothing seemed to go right. We had a difficult time booking our flight to Hong Kong through Air Asia with our credit card, tried to go through a travel agent – which the guy who booked our boat ‘helped’ set up (read: commission). We knew exactly how much it should be for the flight and after I noticed that the people at the agency were doing exactly the same thing as we did – same online website and everything we figured they would just charge us a small fee. After coming back with a price that was nearly double we got up and walked out. Spent the next two hours in an internet cafe where we finally got it to go through – Yeah! A way out of this God-forsaken country! Excited, we headed over to Blufia where we had had imagined one of those amazing milkshakes only to discover it closed. We grabbed a not so great lunch elsewhere and caught the public bus to Trivandrum – where I had to sit on my backpack for the three hour drive and when the rain started in the heat the tin can of a bus pulled down the metal windows so we could all steam to death.
Trivandrum is a work-a-day town with a population hovering around 1 million. Not really much to see or do here other than catch onward transport so the choices in hotels and restaurants are equally disappointing. When arriving, the first place we checked out was full, couldn’t find the second so settled for the afore mentioned Greenland. Once we got checked in, we headed out only to find a disappointing supper. Like I said, “another crap day in India where nothing went right.”
The next morning, we decided that our last night in India should not be spent in a crummy hotel in the middle of another dirty big city. With Kovalam just a few miles away we opted to head there. Once considered a gem of a beach destination, Kovalam now wears the moniker as the most commercialized beach in India. Perhaps it was the time of the year, or perhaps because of the tag the tourists have been staying away, but Kovalam wasn’t as busy as we expected it to be. The infrastructure is there for plenty of holiday makers but what we found was mostly domestic tourists.
The best part about Indian beaches is that they all face west so spectacular sunsets are always a possibility. Our last moments in India were spent sipping one last beer and toasting to the end of days in the heat, dirt and craziness that is India. Next stop – Hong Kong, China!